Showing posts with label Trump White House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump White House. Show all posts

July 10, 2019

The Epstein Sex Scandal and The White House





Image result for white house and epstein
 Business Insider
     

By Vivian Wang
New York Times



By the time Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier, and the felon was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking, he had been repeatedly accused of pedophilia and sexual abuse for more than a decade.

But Mr. Epstein — whose acquaintances include two presidents and multiple celebrities — had until then avoided federal prosecution.

Now, Mr. Epstein is expected to appear in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday to face charges that include sex trafficking of minors, involving multiple underage girls, between 2002 and 2005, according to two law enforcement sources.

The charges include a claim that he routinely brought underage girls to his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he paid them hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and sexual acts, one of the sources said.

The case could shed new light not only on the allegations, which span years and countries but also on the extent to which officials who have been linked to Mr. Epstein — including, most notably, President Trump and his labor secretary, Alexander Acosta — knew about or downplayed them.

Here is a history of the allegations against Mr. Epstein.

Who is Jeffrey Epstein?


 Epstein should have open that door sooner but he has stuff to hide. The initials "JE" and doorway damage at the Manhattan residence of Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP



Mr. Epstein, 66, worked at the investment bank Bear Stearns for six years before opening his own firm, in 1982, to manage money for very wealthy clients.

His circle of friends and acquaintances included many high-profile figures, including Mr. Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of Britain and Leslie Wexner, a business mogul who owns Victoria’s Secret and other retail brands.

Mr. Clinton flew on Mr. Epstein’s private plane dozens of times, according to flight records, and Prince Andrew has attended parties with Mr. Epstein.

Mr. Trump told New York magazine in 2002 that Mr. Epstein was a “terrific guy” whom he had known for 15 years.

“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” the president said at the time. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

What is he accused of?

The charges against Mr. Epstein predate Saturday’s arrest by more than a decade and involve a sordid history that has infuriated victims and raised questions of preferential treatment by law enforcement.

In 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl told the police in Palm Beach, Fla., that Mr. Epstein had molested their daughter at his home there. Before the police referred the case to the F.B.I. in 2006, they identified three dozen potential victims, who said that Mr. Epstein had paid them, while they were underage, for massages, oral sex, and intercourse, according to a police report obtained by The Miami Herald.

The abuse dated back to 2001, according to The Herald. Most of the victims were between 13 and 16. Many came from low-income backgrounds and were told they could earn $200 or $300 for giving Mr. Epstein a massage, the Herald reported.

“We just wanted money for school clothes, for shoes,” one woman told The Herald.

Federal prosecutors in Miami initially drafted a 53-page indictment against Mr. Epstein. But in 2008, those prosecutors — led by Mr. Acosta, then the region’s United States attorney, and now Mr. Trump’s labor secretary — struck a deal with Mr. Epstein’s lawyers that allowed him to avoid federal charges. Instead, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Under the federal charges, Mr. Epstein could have faced life in prison. After the deal, he served 13 months in jail. He had work-release privileges for six days a week, 12 hours each day, during which a private driver picked him up and took him to a nearby office.

In subsequent years, during civil court proceedings, witnesses have testified that hundreds of girls from around the world were brought to Mr. Epstein at different times.

Prosecutors did not tell the victims about the deal they made with Mr. Epstein until after a judge approved it — even though federal law requires victims to be informed of major developments involving their complaints.

The new charges involve sex trafficking and were brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, with help from the New York Police Department and the F.B.I. Mr. Epstein’s arrest on Saturday was first reported by The Daily Beast.

What is the connection to the Trump administration?

Mr. Acosta, whom Mr. Trump nominated as labor secretary in 2017, has faced intense scrutiny for his role in Mr. Epstein’s deal to avoid prosecution, which has been widely criticized as shockingly lenient.

A series of investigative stories by The Herald last year revealed that Mr. Acosta was personally involved in the negotiations. He met privately with one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, who was also one of Mr. Acosta’s former colleagues.

In subsequent weeks, prosecutors from Mr. Acosta’s office gave Mr. Epstein’s lawyers an unusual amount of control over the terms of the plea deal, The Herald reported.

“Thank you for the commitment you made to me,’’ Mr. Epstein’s lawyer wrote in a letter to Mr. Acosta after their meeting, noting that Mr. Acosta had assured him that he would not contact “any of the identified individuals, potential witnesses or potential civil claimants,” The Herald reported.

Mr. Acosta’s office also agreed to help shield the deal from public scrutiny, according to The Herald. The case’s lead prosecutor, A. Marie Villafa簽a, wrote to Mr. Epstein’s lawyer at one point: “I can file the charge in district court in Miami which will hopefully cut the press coverage significantly. Do you want to check that out?”

During Mr. Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing, he defended the deal by noting that Mr. Epstein had been required to register as a sex offender. He also said in 2011 that the plea deal’s results were “better” than risking a trial, which he said had “a reduced likelihood of success.”

The former White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said months ago that the administration was looking into the information about Mr. Acosta detailed by The Herald, although he has remained in his job.

The president’s relationship with Mr. Epstein is less clear.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump has denied that the president and Mr. Epstein had a social relationship, despite Mr. Trump’s comments in 2002 to New York magazine.

One of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, said in court documents that she was recruited to give Mr. Epstein massages while she was working at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida resort. Mr. Epstein has been photographed with Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

What happens next?

Mr. Epstein is expected to appear before a federal magistrate judge in New York on Monday. There is no federal statute of limitations on child sex trafficking.

Separately, a federal judge ruled in February that the government had violated the rights of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims after two of them had sued the government for not telling them about the non-prosecution deal until it had been finalized.

That ruling opened the possibility of nullifying the agreement and allowing Mr. Epstein to be prosecuted on the original federal charges. But federal prosecutors have argued that the violation should not void the agreement, even as they acknowledged they had treated Mr. Epstein’s victims unfairly. The judge, Kenneth A. Marra, will decide what happens next.

Also in February, the Justice Department opened its own probe into the plea deal and whether its attorneys had committed “professional misconduct” in resolving the case in 2008.

Ali Watkins, Joseph Goldstein, and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting
Vivian Wang is a reporter for the Metro Desk, covering New York State politics in Albany. She was raised in Chicago and graduated from Yale University. @vwang3

June 17, 2019

Gargoyles at The White House Have Been Replaced by Vampire Bats



                     Image result for white house has gargoyles




WASHINGTON — It is very disorienting when those who are supposed to be our highest moral exemplars have no morals — not even of the alley-cat variety.

During the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, it was stunning to see wide swaths of clergymen, responsible for teaching children right from wrong, perverting right and wrong.

Now it is shocking to see an American president with a twisted sense of right and wrong. In yet another Nureyev leap into the absurd, Donald Trump went from no-collusion to pro-collusion, as Susan Glasser put it in The New Yorker, saying that he would welcome foreign governments’ peddling dirt on his political rivals. Why bother to alert the F.B.I. if you are getting good oppo?

I have seen a lot of politicians lie — even ones I swore never would. I have watched other Republican leaders play on white fears and choke off checks and balances. It’s tough to match Dick Cheney for putting yourself above the law. 

When I covered Bush 41, Bush loyalists were looking overseas for dirt on Bill Clinton during the 1992 race. There were unfounded rumors that, while he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, Clinton had written a letter about renouncing his citizenship to protest the Vietnam war.

As Michael Isikoff and Eugene Robinson wrote in The Washington Post in October 1992: “A senior State Department official this month ordered the U.S. Embassy in London to conduct an ‘extremely thorough’ search for files on Bill Clinton’s years as a graduate student in England, including any documents relating to the Democratic presidential candidate’s draft status and citizenship, according to department officials.” The instructions came at a time when Republicans were escalating their attacks on Clinton’s draft history.

Around the same time, the Britons went on their own fishing expedition for Clinton’s files. Betsey Wright, a former Clinton campaign official, told reporters that the campaign had received reports that Republicans had approached Tories for help in rifling through files to find damaging information on Clinton.

James Baker, Bush’s chief of staff, was so anguished about “that awful little passport pimple,” as the president called the scandal, that he offered to resign.

Such shame seems quaint in Trumpworld. The president is an unabashed gargoyle atop the White House, chomping on American values.
 
The way Trump publicly wallows in his mendaciousness and amorality is unique in presidential history. His motto might as well be: “I cannot not tell a lie.” His ego is too fragile to play patriarch to the country, so he takes the more ruinous role of provocateur.

There’s no vaccination against the vile machinations of Trump. But there are some signs, in this sickened capital, that antibodies are kicking in. The president and his top officials are getting taken to task by a range of government watchdogs.

Ellen Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, tweeted on Thursday, “I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” as a preface to her stern statement: “It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept.”

Even craven Republican lawmakers — at long last — were squirming over Trump’s contention to George Stephanopoulos that foreign interference in our election would be swell.

Also on Thursday, Special Counsel Henry Kerner recommended that “repeat offender” Kellyanne Conway be removed from her job for violating the Hatch Act, also known as the Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, which bars federal workers from tainting the workplace with politics.

Kerner said his move was unprecedented, but told The Post: “You know what else is unprecedented? Kellyanne Conway’s behavior. In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed.” The president, tireless champion of the First Amendment, said Conway was merely exercising her right to free speech.
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The Onion chimed in with this headline: “Kellyanne Conway Decides to Lie Low Until Rule of Law Dies Down.”

Trump may have lost his knack for stiletto nicknames. “Sleepy Joe” and “Nervous Nancy” don’t cut it. (Pelosi looked anything but nervous in her “Kill Bill” yellow zippered motorcycle jacket.) And he may be nervous himself because of “devastating” internal polling showing him trailing Joe Biden in key states, as The Times’s Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman wrote. He denied the polls existed but later instructed his campaign to play up different data.

Trump doesn’t want to lose just when he seems to be getting more comfortable with all the power he wields.

He makes it so easy for everyone to focus on the tweets and the maniacal, moronic reality show that you have to struggle to look away and take the measure of what he’s doing.

And what he’s doing is altering domestic and foreign policy in terrible ways while running up huge deficits.

The Trump White House may be a clown show and a criminal enterprise. But it’s also an actual presidency.

It’s turning out to be a genuinely reactionary administration led by a wannabe authoritarian who refuses to recognize constitutional checks on power. The real danger is not the antics but the policies. If Trump isn’t careful, he’s going to add substance to his administration. And it won’t be the kind we want.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@MaureenDowd) and join me on Facebook.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter. 

A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2019, on Page SR11 of the New York edition with the headline: A Down and Dirty White House. 

May 21, 2019

Trump Wants Kris Kobach But Kris Kovach Wants Jet, Weekends Off, Cabinet Position, Etc




                                    







Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, spoke with President Trump about an “immigration czar” job in the administration.CreditCreditBarrett Emke for The New York Times
By Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni 

Access to a government jet 24 hours a day. An office in the West Wing, plus guaranteed weekends off for family time. And an assurance of being made secretary of homeland security by November.

Those were among a list of 10 conditions that Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, has given to the White House if he is to become the administration’s “immigration czar,” a job President Trump has been looking to create to coordinate immigration policy across government agencies. The list was described by three people familiar with it.

Mr. Kobach, who once served as an adviser to the hard-line immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio and helped write an Arizona law requiring local officials to verify the citizenship of anyone they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe was an unauthorized immigrant, said he would need to be the main television spokesman for the Trump administration on immigration policy. And he said he wanted a guarantee that cabinet secretaries whose portfolios relate to immigration would defer to him, with the president mediating disputes if need be.

The list was submitted by Mr. Kobach in recent weeks as he discussed his interest in the job. Other conditions included having a staff of seven reporting to him, “walk in” privileges to the Oval Office, a security detail if deemed necessary and the title of assistant to the president. 

He would need access to the jet, he said, for weekly visits to the border and travel back to Kansas on the weekends. The existence of the list has become known among officials in the Trump administration, some of whom were taken aback by what they regard as its presumptuousness.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the list. Mr. Kobach did not respond to emails and text messages.

Mr. Trump has also been considering others for the role, and he is said to be leaning toward Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general.

Mr. Cucinelli has made his own requests related to the job, such as a security detail and transportation to work, according to one person briefed on the discussions. Mr. Cucinelli did not respond to a request for comment. 

Mr. Kobach, a graduate of Harvard, Oxford and Yale Law School, served as Kansas’ secretary of state from 2011 until January. While in that job, he was picked by Mr. Trump to lead a voter fraud commission after the president insisted that the 2016 election was marred by millions of illegal votes.

The commission was disbanded in 2018, with one expert on election law, Richard L. Hasen, describing its chairman as “a leader nationally in making irresponsible claims that voter fraud is a major problem in this country.”

The same year, Mr. Kobach, a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, also ran for governor, losing to a Democrat, Laura Kelly. He lost a race for the House in 2004.

The list underscores the clout Mr. Kobach hopes to have in a job that would not require Senate confirmation, but could drive Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda. One of its main objectives was to minimize the influence of cabinet officials, who have at times been targets of Mr. Trump’s ire, or have jostled for his ear.

After Kirstjen Nielsen, the former homeland security secretary, resigned in April, Mr. Trump met with Mr. Kobach about the possibility of succeeding her. Mr. Kobach, according to people familiar with the meeting, brought with him a detailed plan to crack down on asylum seekers entering the country. He told Mr. Trump that the only way for him to complete the mission was to be able to fly down to the border at a moment’s notice.

At the time, Mr. Trump was convinced that Mr. Kobach would have a hard time winning Senate confirmation for the position, and the two discussed the possible creation of an immigration czar.

He has yet to make a decision. And Mr. Kobach is also considering running for the Kansas Senate seat being vacated by Pat Roberts, a Republican. National Republicans, concerned about his hard-line positions, are hoping to keep him from winning the party’s nomination if he does run.

December 30, 2018

John Kelly Confirms Everything on The Anonymous Op-ed About Trump was True





By Aaron Blake
Washington Post

A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Trump’s potentially damaging whims.
In a recent interview, Trump’s departing chief of staff basically confirmed that’s exactly what has happened for the past two years.
In the phone interview Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side.
Kelly admits he wasn’t consulted much before Trump, shortly after he was inaugurated, banned travel from several majority-Muslim nations. At the time, Kelly was the secretary of homeland security — the department in charge of instituting the ban that turned chaotic.
“I had very little opportunity to look at” the orders before they were issued, Kelly said. “Obviously, it brought down a greater deal of thunder on the president.”  
Kelly suggested he and others stopped Trump from withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. (A partial pullout from Afghanistan appears likely, however, following a decision by the president this month, though senior U.S. military officers have said they have received no orders.)
“When I first took over, he was inclined to want to withdraw from Afghanistan,” Kelly said, adding: “He was frustrated. It was a huge decision to make . . . and frankly there was no system at all for a lot of reasons — palace intrigue and the rest of it — when I got there.” 
Kelly also defended those serving Trump as delivering him the right information, even if it might be disregarded.
“It’s never been: The president just wants to make a decision based on no knowledge and ignorance,” Kelly said. “You may not like his decision, but at least he was fully informed on the impact.”  
Kelly’s words are not exactly a ringing endorsement of Trump’s decisions; they’re covering for Trump making decisions that officials didn’t like. He’s basically saying, “We tried to tell him!” 
Kelly also distanced himself from the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, blaming then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a zero-tolerance border policy that resulted in the separations — a policy marked by the deaths of two children who were in U.S. custody. As with the travel ban, Kelly suggests he was blindsided.
“What happened was Jeff Sessions — he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly said. “He surprised us.” 
Kelly is perhaps more diplomatic than the anonymous senior administration official. He was also more subtle than former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who a few weeks ago said Trump was “undisciplined, doesn’t like to read” and tried to do illegal things but was often thwarted by those around him
But at the core of Kelly’s comments was the same thing: a top Trump administration official suggesting that the political novice in the White House makes decisions with his gut and without much regard for the information that the smart people around him try to give him. The idea that Kelly regards his biggest success as standing in Trump’s way is a pretty strong indictment of Trump as a person and of his presidency. It is also perhaps a warning of what’s to come as Trump is increasingly surrounded by yes-men and -women.
All of these are the comments of a man who knows his legacy will be tied to Trump — and who isn’t entirely comfortable with that. The Times asked him about exactly that in its ending:
Asked why he stayed 18 months in the White House, despite policy differences, personality clashes, the punishing schedule, and a likely lasting association with some of Trump’s controversies, he said simply: duty.
“Military people,” he said, “don’t walk away.”

March 7, 2018

Federal Agencies Including HUD (B.Carson) Are Sued for Quietly Altering their Stances on LGBT




 Sleepy Ben Carson only seemed sleepy because he was quiet awake while quietly changed  the
 LGBT Inlusions clauses for HUD. He has the same religious believes as Mike Pence. These so caled Christians think the way to heaven is to make the life of people they don't agre with, particularly the poor, miserable.

  
A progressive advocacy group filed a lawsuit in federal court last week against the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), calling for them to publicly disclose documents related to changing federal policy toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
"The agencies should be ordered to release all records relating to or consisting of decisions or directives to remove references to ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning,’ ‘LGBT,’ or ‘LGBTQ’ individuals from agency materials concerning efforts to combat problems of homelessness, discrimination, and sex trafficking," the lawsuit, filed on Feb. 28 by the nonprofit People for the American Way, stated.
 The organization filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the agencies failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, sent in September.“There’s absolutely no reason why these agencies should refuse to release these documents,” Elliot Mincberg, a senior fellow at People for the American Way, said in a statement. “The public has a right to know what directives are being handed down that resulted in LGBTQ people being written out of federal programs and activities."
"These under-the-radar changes can have a massive effect on the way our government works, and it appears Trump administration officials are trying to create secret agency laws in order to push their extreme agenda," he added. "That’s simply not permissible. We have a right to see these documents, and we’re going to court to get them.”
On Sept. 20, Right Wing Watch sent a FOIA request to HUD seeking records related to three reported actions, according to the lawsuit: "the removal from HUD's website of materials that helped train homeless shelters on ensuring they provided equal access to transgender individuals"; "the cancellation of a survey of pilot programs designed to decrease LGBT homelessness" in Cincinnati and Houston; and "a directive to the Policy Development and Research division of HUD not to participate in a study of LGBT housing discrimination."
 Secretary Ben carson of Human Development and Research (part of HUD)


 Housing    


The FOIA requested followed a New York magazine articlepublished in August that outlined the reported actions above, and a July request by 28 senators asking HUD Secretary Ben Carson to do more to protect LGBTQ people from housing discrimination and expressing concern about the removal of references to LGBTQ people in its programming.
In the U.S., approximately 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year, and an estimated 40 percent of these young people identify as LGBTQ, according to True Colors Fund, a nonprofit working to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. And a 2017 University of Chicago study found LGBTQ youth are 120 percent more likely than their straight and cisgender (non-transgender) counterparts to be homeless.
“For many young people … these [HUD] resources can sometimes make the difference between life and death — getting into a safe housing program or remaining in a vulnerable situation," Ellen Kahn, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Children, Youth and Families program, told NBC News.
Kahn said HUD's alleged removal of transgender-inclusive training materials for homeless shelter staff members allows service providers who are not interested in providing care for LGBTQ youth "off the hook."
“It gives people an opportunity to turn their back on this particularly vulnerable group of young people,” she said, adding that HUD's actions "essentially disappear a population that is disproportionately affected by homelessness.” 
On Sept. 15, five days prior to its HUD request, Right Wing Watch sent a FOIA request to the DOJ seeking access to any records relating to the removal of references to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth from a solicitation for grant proposals for the Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative, which funds programs that serve juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
“In 2016, the grant application material had specific references LGBTQ youth, and sure enough, those references were gone in 2017,” Mincburg told NBC News. According the lawsuit, the DOJ has failed to respond to the FOIA requests despite repeated emails.
Mincburg stressed that changes in federal policy related to LGBTQ people and the removal of language that specifically mentions the community should raise red flags.
"They’re clearly sending a message that these programs are not going to be available for LGBTQ people," he said, adding that "the American people are entitled to transparency about what the U.S. government is doing.”
Mincburg claimed HUD and the DOJ are not the only federal agencies quietly altering their stances on LGBTQ inclusion. His organization, he noted, has also filed a FOIA request with the Department of Health and Human Services.
A spokesperson for HUD told NBC News the department does not discuss pending litigation, and DOJ spokesperson Devin O’Malley declined to comment.

February 10, 2018

WH Needs a Replacement for Porter and if Kelly Likes him No Security Clearance Needed



 Kelly and His man Porter

Kelly is a lier but he works for a President who lies all the time. Is it a requirement for working for a lier you have to be one be one yourself? It seems that way. We knew people in government lied and politicians lied. What we never saw or allowed to be seen as people high up in the government lying right in front of us on TV.  Kelly said he didn't know about this problem of having a wife beater working for him...lie!  He knew about it because the FBI knew it and reported it to his office. He is either very thick like his boss or doesn't read, just like his boss. People were so excited when Kelly was named the chief of staff. They thought they would straighten out the Trump's White House.
Why would Trump not pick someone that was in line with his ways of doing business (Kelly)? 
Kelly had a guy without a security clearance working in the highest places in the White House  Kelly allowed this and the question is did Trump know? did he care? Still, Kelly stuck his face on TV and said 'this was the first he heard about it' Not true.
Trump's son in law won't get a permanent security clearing because of the flags raised by the FBI but then He is the this President son in law and the President ignores this fact.  But Porter was no family of the President. Why then having given a promotion after the FBI sent a report about him beating his wife to the WH. and be kept there. They could not find a replacement. Well, Kelly liked him so he stayed.  Adam

Sources close to the White House say chief of staff John Kelly has suffered a serious blow to his standing from the bungled resignation of staff secretary Rob Porter, who has been accused of domestic abuse. 

Kelly’s most vehement critics even suggest the episode could herald his demise within the administration. 

“We’ll see this as an inflection point when he is fired,” said one source within President Trump’s orbit. The source, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, blasted Kelly as “tone deaf and politically inept.”

A second source close to the Republican Party complained, regarding Kelly, that “everybody knows he limits access and information flow to POTUS on a daily basis; this could be the beginning of the end of that — and maybe Kelly as chief.” 
Such predictions can be motivated in part by personal rivalries. Some people who had become accustomed to having relatively free-flowing access to Trump have found their contact sharply reduced since Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as chief of staff last July. 

But Kelly's woes deepened late Thursday when The Washington Post reported that White House counsel Don McGahn had first informed Kelly of the abuse allegations against Porter last fall. Instead of firing Porter, according to the Post, Kelly gave him a bigger role.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah insisted that Kelly retained Trump’s full confidence during a media briefing on Thursday. 

But Shah had a thankless task in trying to defend a White House, and a chief of staff, that had expressed total confidence in Porter amid allegations of domestic abuse by two ex-wives — only to cut him loose within hours. 

In a statement sent via the White House pool reporter at 3:54 p.m. Wednesday, Porter was praised as “effective in his role.” The statement added, “the President and Chief of Staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.” 

At 9:31 p.m., a statement under Kelly’s name was released, noting that he had accepted Porter’s resignation and that “there is no place for domestic violence in our society.” 

The furor is so politically explosive in part because the allegations are so disturbing. Both of Porter’s ex-wives have alleged that he was physically abusive to them.  

The Daily Mail’s website published photos of his first wife, Colbie Holderness, with a bruised eye. She said the injury had been inflicted by Porter, whom she accused of punching her while they were on vacation in Italy. His second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the same news organization that Porter had pulled her from the shower to scream at her. 

In a statement that was read aloud at the White House media briefing on Wednesday, Porter called the allegations “simply false” and “vile.”  

But those allegations also seemingly stopped Porter from getting a security clearance, even though he had daily access to the president. Shah said Porter was working under an interim clearance and insisted that the full clearance was never denied. "His background investigation was ongoing," he said.

The difficulties for the White House were further complicated because Porter is reported to be dating Hope Hicks, the communications director and one of Trump’s closest aides. Shah said Hicks had recused herself from some discussions regarding the matter. 

Kelly was initially emphatic in his defense of Porter. Kelly at first told the Daily Mail that Porter was “a man of true integrity and honor” and added that he was “proud to serve alongside him.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So there’s another vacancy in the outstandingly successful Trump administration. White House staff secretary Rob Porter either resigned or was fired this week following allegations he assaulted both of his former wives.

Porter joins an impressively long list of people who have left or been ejected from the administration, including but not limited to national security adviser Michael Flynn; deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh; deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland; National Security Council deputy chief of staff Tera Dahl; assistant press secretary Michael Short; chief of staff Reince Priebus; chief strategist Stephen Bannon; deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka; William Bradford, director of the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy; director of Health and Human Services Tom Price; Jamie Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships; Office of Drug Control Policy deputy chief of staff Taylor Weyenet; press secretary Sean Spicer; special adviser Carl Icahn; and Office of Public Liaison director of communications Omarosa Manigault. 

These departures, along with more than 20 others, stemmed from issues ranging from embellished background credentials to past racist comments to lying about contacts with Russians to conflicts of interest to disagreements with the administration.

No presidency has ever had this kind of turnover in its first year, which is probably why no presidency has ever been as totally fantastic and smooth-running as this one.

And just as Porter is leaving, there’s a good chance current chief of staff John Kelly — who reportedly knew about the allegations against Porter since last year and allowed the man to continue handling classified information even though he couldn’t get a security clearance — will be the next one out the door.

It’s all perfect because the key thing people want from their government is abject chaos. Any political scientist will tell you that entropy breeds success.

With that in mind, I’ve prepared an advertisement White House officials can use to promote their new opening and attract the perfect candidate.

This should immediately be posted on the White House’s website, on Ashley Madison, the dating site for people interested in extramarital affairs, and on the walls of correctional facilities across the country:

“Have you always dreamed of being part of something you are in no way qualified, professionally or morally, to handle? Do you love America so much that you would sacrifice time and what little integrity you have to work for her in the hope of raising your profile or unethically enriching yourself?

“If you answered yes to either of those questions or if you recently had a restraining order taken out against you, the Trump Administration might be the place for you. And the good news is … WE’RE HIRING!

“That’s right, thanks to the recent departure and/or indictment of one of our exemplary colleagues, we are looking for a fresh voice to help us MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

“Are you a former reality television star who was despised by viewers? Have you ever spent long evenings anonymously posting online comments detailing your views on the superiority of the white race?

“Do you think President Donald Trump is unbelievably awesome and perfect, and are you willing to tell him that every day or even multiple times a day?

“Then you may already be more than qualified to join our team and jovially mishandle classified information that people risked their lives to obtain. And you’ll get a free hat!

“At the Trump Administration, we want REAL people, not snooty experts or idealistic dreamers who think they can make the world a better place.

“To answer these questions: Are you hopelessly self-centered or toxically masculine? Have you freely associated with agents of unfriendly foreign countries without understanding why that’s such a big deal? Will you do just about anything to ‘trigger the libs?’

“Then you need to contact us right away and see if you qualify — YOU DO! — for a spot in the greatest administration in the history of America and probably everywhere else.

“Benefits include very little actual work, regular opportunities for lying, a comfortable spot on the wrong side of history, free vials of immigrant tears, backstabbing training and zero job security.

“Must be fluent in hypocrisy and lack any sense of self-awareness. No spelling or grammar skills necessary.

“Stupid losers and people from ‘shithole’ countries need not apply.”

rhuppke@chicagotribune.com
Chicago Tribune

adamfoxie Celebrating 10 years of keeping on eye on the world for You

adamfoxie.blogspot.com brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except out.sports.com only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers

February 9, 2018

Secretary of HUD Ben Carson* What Has He Been Up to Besides Taking Apocalypse

Since Trump wanted to pay him back (Ben Carson), since that is the way 'The Geius' works. Not by your background to do the job but what favors have you done (money or otherwise) for Trump. Cason Needed to be paid back because he stopped his campaign to be President and backed Trump. Trump was not going to appoint him to something He (Trump) saw as sensitive like Secretary of State but instead something the Donald did not care about like Urban Develpment. The last time Trump was heavily involved in Urban Develpment he would not put Blacks in his apartment in Manhattan but would send them to Brooklyn instead. So Sleepy Ben Carson would be just perfect. Under Trump's view he has become just that perfect and never rocks the boat. He talks about soemthing that Trump's followers  hope they misss, which turns out a plus somewhere in that 35% of his supporters. They are conservative Christians which beleive Christ will come back any second and the rest will go thru the Apolcalypse. Adam
*Early in his tenure, Carson made headlines for suggesting that one public housing complex might be too comfortable and for getting stuck in an elevator while touring another. Then he went so quiet you’d be forgiven for thinking he never made it out*
 Think Big! But don't let people see you in case yu stop thinking at all or fall sleep


It was Christmastime in Washington, and Ben Carson couldn’t stop talking about the apocalypse.
“Did you know,” the secretary of housing and urban development asked his acting chief of staff, Deana Bass, at a Capitol Hill holiday party, “that if North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon into our exosphere, it could take out our entire electrical grid?”
Bass shook her head.
“What’s that movie where there’s complete lawlessness and anarchy for one night a year?” Carson said, calmly resting his right hand over his left. “ ‘The Purge’! It will be like ‘The Purge’ all the time.”
Carson is an acclaimed neurosurgeon who oversees a large government agency for which he has no particular qualifications and in this way represents the grand theme of the Trump administration. He, like the president, came to power by promising that an outsider would have the “common sense” it takes to cure what ails us. And so, while conservative gadfly Armstrong Williams played host to this party at the Monocle restaurant, it was Carson everyone came to see.
“There’s never been a time in the history of the world where a society became divided like this and did well,” Carson said as a crowd — including an off-duty New York Times reporter, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a slew of representatives from housing nonprofit organizations and old friends from his presidential campaign — circled him. “And we don’t really have a reason to be fighting each other. There was a movie some years ago, a Will Smith movie called ‘Independence Day’ . . .”
With his soothing, story-time cadences and heavy-lidded gaze, Carson proceeded to hold forth on how Earth’s near-annihilation laid bare the superficiality of all the world’s strife. If only, he argued, people realized that the fate of humanity hung in the balance, then Palestinians and Jews, or even the United States and Russia, could be “like best friends.”
Carson has been telling stories about a dystopian future ever since he got into politics. In 2014 he warned audiences that if Republicans didn’t win back the Senate, there might not even be an election in 2016. And when there was an election in 2016, Carson ran for president with a simple message: Democrats and career politicians were taking the country on a dark path.
In his new role, Carson still sees himself as a warrior against impending doom, but he’s battling contradictions on the side. He wants to be a good steward for an agency he calls the “philanthropic” arm of the government, even if he doesn’t think of the government as a philanthropy. He wants to clean up the swamp but finds himself swimming in ethically murky water. 

Carson is a man torn by differing impulses. And nearly a year into the job, it’s unclear whether he’s fighting the chaos or helping create it. The president-elect felt otherwise. Trump met with Carson multiple times and even called his wife, Candy, so insistent on bringing him on board that Carson’s friends joked he should ask for the secretary of state position.
The initial reports stated that Carson picked HUD because he had grown up in public housing. In fact, he had grown up only “near” public housing. It’s a significant distinction. When Carson thinks back to the families he knew who relied on government assistance, he doesn’t think of them as saved by a social safety net, but as captives.  

“The people who put all these programs in place meant well,” he said. “They had no intention of entrapping people and making them dependent.”
By accepting the nomination, Carson — who by his telling grew up poor but became a world-famous surgeon and best-selling author through sheer determination (and, yes, the help of food stamps) — set out to run an agency designed specifically to help bootstrap-yanking.
For a man who preaches his life story as a parable for self-reliance, it’s an odd fit. The agency oversees more than 1.2 million public housing units, helps subsidize mortgages and fights segregation in the housing market. Carson might not have known the extent of what HUD did when he accepted the nomination. But any initial worry about his ability to do the job disappeared quickly.
“Compared to pediatric surgery,” Carson said of his new job, “it’s nothing.”
It’s also, he quickly found, nothing like pediatric surgery.

Carson tours a residential unit at Hope Center, a facility for homeless people in Lexington, Ky. (Philip Scott Andrews/For The Washington Post)
Early in his tenure, Carson made headlines for suggesting that one public housing complex might be too comfortable and for getting stuck in an elevator while touring another. Then he went so quiet you’d be forgiven for thinking he never made it out. 

This was a different kind of role for Carson, who has been in-your-face famous for years. (Before becoming a Fox News contributor and later a presidential candidate, Carson was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in one movie and played himself in another, a Farrelly brothers comedy about conjoined twins.)
Carson’s low profile was a relief for HUD employees. The alternative, as showcased by a few other Cabinet secretaries, seemed to be overexposure by way of dubious usage of private jets, undisclosed conflicts of interest and photos in front of sheets of paper currency.
Yet certain rumblings began early on when employees and journalists noticed that he was frequently bringing his wife and son, Ben Jr., to the office.
“At one point, Candy seemed to be coming in every day,” said a former HUD employee. “There’s this glass door on the 10th floor, where the secretary’s office is. It used to be they would keep it open, but they started keeping it closed. The family would go in and then freeze everyone else out.”
Was Carson relying on family members for advice over professionals? Or was Ben Jr., who owns an investment firm that specializes in infrastructure, wielding interest over decisions that might benefit his company?
“That is such crap,” said Carson in a recent interview from his office. “There’s nothing to find. It’s ridiculous.”
Part of why Carson might have wanted to surround himself with family: He was otherwise mostly alone. It took months for Congress to approve much of his team, and many Trump officials came into their jobs suspicious of civil servants and Obama administration holdovers. It was, by Carson’s own account, a “difficult time.”
Carson’s reliance on his family, however, risked running afoul of federal ethics rules. A story last week in The Washington Post reported that top HUD lawyers repeatedly warned the secretary against allowing his relatives to put people with whom they might have current or future business ties on the guest list for events. He ignored those warnings.
In one case, Carson’s son invited an administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to an event in Baltimore; three months later CMS awarded a $485,000 contract to his wife’s company.
Carson has ordered an internal investigation into the matter and maintains that his son “dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’ to make sure he stays 10 feet away from anything I’m doing.” But these days, both Jr. and Candy are staying even farther than that from the HUD building.
“In the beginning you don’t always know the rules of engagement,” said Williams. “It’s a learning curve for everybody. They realized that just the presence of being there brings scrutiny.” 
As HUD secretary, Carson preaches the same conservative strain of self-reliance that he sprinkled throughout his 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” only now he’s trying to apply it to a government agency. He’s got the same God complex that many surgeons have (Carson owns a painting of himself hanging out with Jesus), even as a humble public servant. And he still smiles at his ability to set off the “PC police” — past run-ins include the times he seemed to compare health care to slavery and homosexuality to pedophilia — only now he tries to keep his opinions to himself.
“I have to admit, it felt good when you would say something inflammatory and everybody would go, ‘Yeah!’ ” said Carson. “But what good does that do?”
It’s a message he’s tried to relay to Trump. After Trump refused to condemn racists at a Charlottesville protest, and after reports that the president had referred to African and Latin American nations as “shithole countries,” Carson made public statements about how such language wasn’t “helpful.”
But Carson hasn’t been able, either publicly or privately, to persuade Trump to tone it down. He talks to the president on a weekly basis, but it’s unclear whether he can get him to listen. He hasn’t been able, for example, to keep the president from trying to shrink HUD.
“I wasn’t happy,” Carson said when the Office of Management and Budget suggested a $6 billion cut at the $46 billion agency. “I’ve made many trips back and forth to OMB to talk about it. . . . There’s still some differences of opinion there.”
Presidential candidate Carson might have felt differently, but a funny thing happens to a person’s thoughts on slashing government spending when suddenly part of that government is under his control.
“The thing that looms largest is making sure the budget to the most feeble among us is not cut,” said Williams. “If they cut that budget from 10 to 18 percent, I don’t think he’ll stay there.”
That sentiment might come as a surprise to many of the people working inside HUD, a massive brutalist building in L’Enfant Plaza, where Carson has kept a quiet presence. Many employees say they rarely see the secretary, and when he does address groups of more than 10 people, he requires a microphone because of his soft voice.
“There is no real agenda, and it’s certainly out of the ordinary even for a Republican administration,” said Gustavo Velasquez, an Urban Institute fellow who served for nearly three years as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the Obama administration. “Many offices have been decimated. It’s preposterous.”
This is a continued deterioration of HUD, which during the Reagan administration had more than 16,000 employees but by the end of the Obama years had about 8,000. Meanwhile, last year, for the first time since 2010, homelessness levels ticked up nationwide.
Still, many HUD employees have quietly admitted that they feel almost lucky. While other Cabinet-level appointees have the will and knowledge to unravel the administrative state — Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency or Ryan Zinke at Interior — it’s unclear if Carson really knows how to find the various self-destruct levers or if he’d even want to pull them.
“Basically, benign neglect is the best way to describe it right now,” said Juli獺n Castro, the previous HUD secretary.
And recently, just as folks have been leaving the agency, Carson has finally been successful in filling out his team, including many longtime civil servants who have worked there before and a deputy secretary who by many accounts runs the day-to-day operation of the place.
“He’s learning that he does need the swamp,” says Williams. “It’s not always the answer to drain the swamp. Sometimes you need to feed it.”

“Benign neglect” is the assessment of previous HUD Secretary Juli獺n Castro, of the agency under Carson, shown here touring an affordable housing nonprofit in Lexington, Ky. (Philip Scott Andrews/For The Washington Post)
‘Racism is like pornography,” Carson told about 20 HUD employees at a Kentucky field office, leaning on a lectern with a smirk curling his neatly trimmed mustache. “You know it when you see it.”
Weeks earlier, Carson decided to delay a measure to strengthen a civil-rights-era requirement for local governments to take active steps to undo racial segregation. When Carson was campaigning for president he pointed to this measure — crafted during the Obama administration to help the Fair Housing Act of 1968 live up to its mission — as an example of “social engineering.” Now, as HUD secretary, he said the rule should be paused because it was too burdensome on local governments. Plus, as he pointed out with his analogy, it shouldn’t take a bunch of bureaucrats to recognize racism (or nudie films, for that matter).
The move didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention. The only surprise was that it took so long.
“People here are excited about him, but things haven’t really changed much down here,” said a Kentucky staffer after Carson’s visit. “We’re still mostly waiting on our marching orders.”
Without many specifics to ask him about, the first polite question posed to Carson during the Q&A: “Do you miss being a surgeon?” Later, Carson autographed copies of his books.
The trip to Kentucky gave some hints of the direction he hopes to take the department. He spoke with his staff about ramping up the rollback of regulations. He toured a number of public-private transitional homeless shelters — places that provide short-term tenants with job training and substance-abuse programs in hopes of putting them back on their feet.
“The goal,” he said, “shouldn’t be to increase the number of people on government assistance but to increase the number of people we get off of government assistance.”
 

adamfoxie Celebrating 10 years of keeping an eye on the world for You

adamfoxie.blogspot.com brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except out.sports.com only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers
  

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